Hundreds of ironworkers have earned Safety-Trained Supervisor Construction certification in the first year of the international union’s program. “Training in the STSC develops a culture of safety,” said Mark Calkins, business manager of Iron Workers Local 24 in Denver.

Calkins was among 1,100 contractors, ironworkers and union leaders focused on safety at the IMPACT Labor-Management conference, held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., from Feb. 28 to March 2.

“Safety is, has and always will be a function of first-line supervision,” added John Ishom, safety director for the infrastructure business unit of AECOM. “That’s where the work happens, and that’s where there is the biggest risk.” Ishom said AECOM has implemented STSC certification across the company to change the culture, even in the office environment.

Steve Rank, executive director of safety and health for the ironworkers, said that, beyond the STSC certification program, the association is launching, in July, a “safety director” training course to provide ironworkers instruction that will qualify them to work with owners at the “safety policy” level on projects.

Eric Dean, the new general president, noted two positive changes over the union’s 120-year history: a workforce that is both safer and more productive. “A ton of steel still weighs a ton and ironworkers still work at great heights, but we won’t rest until they all go home safely at the end of the day,” he said. Dean also said that, in 2008, membership took a “course correction” as severe as the stock market’s but has posted a 7% gain this year over last.